WATCH: Chelmsford High School 2022 Graduation Ceremony
Town of Chelmsford’s 105th graduation confers 332 diplomas
LOWELL, MA (June 10, 2021) – The commencement ceremony of the Chelmsford High School Class of 2022 will be remembered for its powerful messaging to the graduates and equally as a significant step in returning to normalcy.
After canceling the 2020 graduation ceremony due to the Covid-19 outbreak and an outdoor, distanced ceremony in 2021 at Simonian Stadium, the Town of Chelmsford celebrated its 105th graduating class Saturday afternoon, conferring 332 diplomas at the Tsongas Center, home to many previous CHS graduations.
With each speaker came profound messages and advice about measuring your own success, accomplishment, unique perspectives on failure and pivoting, empathy, and thanking mom and dad.
While hailing the resiliency of the students at both the 2021 and 2022 commencement, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jay Lang reminded the Class of 2022 to remember those who helped get them to this day: the teachers, counselors, administrators and support staff at CPS, but equally their own families, extended and immediate, and called for a few moments of appreciation.
“You’re very fortunate to have so many caring and committed supporters in the arena today to celebrate your many accomplishments and recognize the young men and women you’ve become,” he noted.
Dr. Lang recognized the graduates resolve for enduring nearly two years of the constraints caused by Covid-19 and assured them such resolve will make each of them stronger. He encouraged the Class to break the boundaries of comfort zones. “I ask that when you leave Chelmsford High School, you continue to push yourself to learn, work hard, enjoy life and to give back to the community that has supported you and provided you so much throughout the years,” he added.
Donna Newcomb, Chelmsford School Committee Chair, cited a resonant Boston Globe opinion piece from 2006 about defining success not solely on accomplishment and recognition, but on three components: how well we are able to care for ourselves; whether we are able to care for family and friends; and giving back to the communities of which we are members.
“As you go forward, choose your measures of success wisely,” she told the class. “Don’t allow yourself to use other people’s measures. Success will equal happiness when you define what is truly important to you and remain focused on attending to those things.”
CHS Principal Stephen Murray highlighted the many accomplishments of the Class: the scores of students who traveled abroad this year for humanitarian and educational reasons; the charitable efforts of the many clubs and causes at CHS; those students who launched businesses during the pandemic; and the student-run leadership conferences, to name a few.
“Author Sam Ewing said hard work spotlights the character of people,” Mr. Murray said. “Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses and some don’t turn up at all. You clearly turned up. Imagine your capabilities as adults with the world at your fingertips.”
Salutatorian Larry Yang, who will attend New York University this fall, eloquently offered his unique perspective on failure: he encouraged his classmates to pretend failure does not exist. “What would you attempt to do if you knew you cold not fail,” he asked. “Move forward with unbreakable confidence and unbridled optimism.”
Valedictorian Ellen Angwin, who will pursue engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, revealed the apropos Class of 2022 gifts: a fountain for the Science Pond, which is aerated and equipped with lights to offer a more attractive appearance. Ms. Angwin, a soccer/basketball standout, then announced that the Class of 2022 will donate $5,000 to the Emily Myerson Scholarship Fund, created in memory of her teammate, who passed away in the spring of 2021.
Ms. Angwin also delivered a passionate plea for change in the country’s gun laws.
Before the ceremonial presentation of the gavel to Class of 2023 President Martin Coleman, graduating President Marcos Hernandez spoke about change, and shared his personal story about having to pivot when his job cut into his theater plans and when he missed the cut for the basketball team as a junior.
Senior Class Vice President Sankalp Bhoyar also shared his story of missing the cut for the boys basketball team, after which he was encouraged to give track and field a try by history educator/track and field coach Daniel Richter.
Mr. Hernandez will attend Cornell University in the fall. Mr. Bhoyar, who will attend Boston University, won the Merrimack Valley Conference shot put title on May 21.
Mr. Bhoyar’s story segued well into the introduction of Mr. Richter, the ceremony’s guest speaker, voted upon by the senior class. Prior to the conferment of diplomas, Mr. Richter delivered an emotional speech about the importance of empathy, which he described has perhaps the most important component between a student and teacher.
“Teachers owe students respect, dedication, knowledge, integrity, safety, and support,” he said. “However, the best question of what we owe each other is simple. We owe each other empathy. Teaching with empathy means making the classroom a space where students can feel successful and comfortable, where they can share answers, views, or opinions without getting judged. That’s what empathy is. It’s being aware of the experiences and needs of others.”
About Chelmsford Public Schools
The Chelmsford Public School District provides all students with multiple pathways to optimize their own potential for academic excellence, leadership, and social and emotional wellness. The mission of the Chelmsford Public Schools is to educate, engage, prepare, and empower well-rounded and knowledgeable learners to PERSEVERE through challenges, demonstrate RESPECT and INTEGRITY in their words and actions, are DEDICATED to their community, and display EMPATHY as global citizens while discovering and pursuing their full potential. This PRIDE-driven culture enables all members of the school community to support the growth and development of students. For more information, please visit www.chelmsford.k12.ma.us.